CHAIRMAN of Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof Mahmood Yakubu, has said that the electoral umpire would need N305 billion for the conduct of 2023 general elections as well as off-circle elections scheduled for 2022.
Prof Mahmood dropped the hint during a session with Senate Committee on Appropriations, today.
Noting that the 2022 Appropriation bill had made provision for the sum of N140 billion of which N40 billion is for the regular budget of the commission while the remaining N100 billion is for the preparation of the 2023 general elections, Mahmood, however, said N100 billion earmarked in the Appropriation bill was grossly inadequate, hence the need for additional N205 billion.
According to him, the commission has eight bye-elections pending, including Ekiti and Osun governorship elections.
“The commission made a submission through the executive being part of the executive body. We made a submission for N305b for the 2023 general elections in a very comprehensive 22-page document with 260 budget lines. In submitting the executive proposal to the National Assembly, the sum of of N140b was made available to INEC as a one-line item in the budget and as usual we broke it down and submitted same to the committee that oversights INEC in both the House and the senate.
The N140b was broken into two, we take it that N40b is our regular budget as an agency of Government and N100b was the first tranche of the 2022 budget and we have gone ahead to make provisions accordingly. For the N40b annual budget including in that are also elections that we are supposed to conduct particularly off-season elections.
It may interest the committee to know that we have 8 bye-election pending; three Federal constituencies and five State constituencies. In fact, the last vacancy occured only last Wednesday following the death of a member representing Jiwa west in Kaduna State,” he said.
Similarly, chairman of the committee, Senator Barau Jibrin has said that 2022 budget would be presented and considered today.
“The presentation and consideration (of 2022 budget) will be tomorrow. We have been waiting for them (INEC) and they have given the detailed information of what they need. We are proceeding to put together our report for onward submission to the plenary tomorrow (Tuesday). We are presenting it tomorrow and it is going to be considered tomorrow as well by the Grace of God,” Jibrin said.